Colts 2019 Free Agent Watch: Safety Clayton Geathers
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INDIANAPOLIS – It might be the most difficult decision for Chris Ballard among his unrestricted free agents this offseason.
How do you weigh the love for Clayton Geathers the player/and man vs. the glaring injury history of the hard-hitting safety?
Let’s start with why Ballard and Frank Reich are such fans of Geathers.
When healthy, Geathers gives the Colts a physical presence at the safety position, something that complements what the team has in fellow safety Malik Hooker.
Geathers, who turns 27 years old in June, offers stability in run support and flexibility when sub packages are needed.
The staff also loves the professional way Geathers approaches the game. Almost every week this season, when Geathers did play, he would do so following limited time on the practice field. He's one of the few young leaders on the Indy defense.
“Clayton has been toughing it out big time,” Reich said of the 4th year safety late in the season. “I can’t say enough about that. He is just playing at a very high level. It is just something about when Clayton is out there it just gives us an emotional life. That guy is a leader in every way – just the physicality and the toughness. He is big time for us.”
But the injuries cannot be ignored.
A variety of ailments have kept Geathers off the field for 23 of his 64 games.
Since playing 15 games in his 2015 rookie season, Geathers has played in 26 games and missed 22 contests.
After fully recovering from a scary neck injury late in the 2016 season, Geathers did miss a couple of games due to a neck/concussion earlier this season, before a nagging knee injury kept him off the field in December.
In total, Geathers played in 12 of 16 games in 2018.
When the Colts season ended in Kansas City, Ballard had a moment with one of his favorite players in the locker room.
“I got emotional with Clayton after the game, because I love him,” Ballard says of the 6-2 and 220-pound safety. “I love everything Clayton Geathers stands for. I watched a guy every week fight for his tail off to get ready to play.”
Last year, Ballard handed out a 1-year (sort of prove-it deal) to an injured player he loved, in Jack Mewhort.
Wouldn’t a similar type of contract to Geathers make sense?
It’s not like the contract given to Mewhort, after he retired in August, really hampered the Colts from a cap standpoint moving forward.
If you do decide to bring Geathers back as your starter, depth at safety is a must for insurance and sub packages.
The Colts entered the offseason with 15 unrestricted free agents.
2019 Free Agent Watches